Caretaker mode? No. NBN Co should go hog wild.


Attractive Business Man In Suit Throwing Money Into Air

opinion Not only should NBN Co ignore Malcolm Turnbull’s spurious claim that it’s in some form of ‘virtual caretaker mode’ ahead of the upcoming Federal Election, it should intentionally sign as many long-term construction and equipment contracts as possible before September, in case the Coalition wins government and tries to shut it down.

As many of you will be aware, right now several senior members of the Federal Coalition have hit the media trail (actually, do they ever leave it for real life?) to spruik the view that the Federal Government should rightfully be in a kind of ‘virtual caretaker mode’ ahead of the upcoming Federal Election on September 14. Departments and agencies such as NBN Co and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, according to Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Shadow Climate Change Minister Greg Hunt, should be well aware that the Coalition holds a radically different view of their future than Julia Gillard’s current Labor Government does.

When it comes to the National Broadband Network, depending on who you talk to in the Shadow Cabinet and when, that future could range from shutting the whole thing down wholesale and walking away from this ‘colossal white elephant’ of a project, to maintaining the bones of NBN Co and the contracts which it has signed more or less intact and re-focusing it around fibre to the node technology and a different rollout pattern, after a lengthy period of Productivity Commission examination into the cost/benefit equation regarding high-speed broadband.

Unfortunately for Turnbull, Hunt and others such as Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop who are spruiking this message, there is little validity to it, either in law or tradition (wow … who would have thunk? The Tony Abbott-led Coalition being misleading about something? That could never happen.). The so-called ‘caretaker’ provisions only apply once the Prime Minister of the day has actually asked for Parliament to be dissolved; until then, the Government and its agencies are completely free to get on with the business of governing the nation, signing contracts, implementing projects and so on. And in fact that’s probably what the Australian population would vastly prefer that they do.

However, if I was in a management position at NBN Co I would go one step further. Why not abandon the concept of ‘business as usual’, and try and lock down as much of the next decade’s rollout of the NBN as possible?

Think about it for a minute.

Right now, most of NBN Co’s contracts only really have affect for the next few years, broadly covering the company’s three year rollout plan announced last year. Its South Australia and Northern Territory contract with Syntheo, for example, covers just four years from November 2011. NBN Co also has another similar contract, also with Syntheo, covering much of Western Australia for four years from September 2011. It’s a similar case with its deal with Transfield Services (four years from September 2011 to cover Victoria) and there’s also a major deal with Silcar for four years from June 2011.

It’s a similar case, more or less, with many of NBN Co’s network equipment contracts. The company’s deal with Alcatel-Lucent was signed in June 2010, and while it’s worth up to $1.5 billion, it appeared as though that deal was initially only for 12 months to help get NBN Co off the ground; I don’t think it was precisely stipulated how long it would last. The company also has deals with a range of other companies, including local suppliers. One standout is a $400 million deal with Nokia for optical transmission equipment. Each deal was typically worth hundreds of millions to more than a billion dollars, but NBN Co tended to place an early order of a few millions or tens of millions of dollars to get itself off the ground with some initial kit. It then expected placing further orders later on as its network rollout ramped up. I’m sure it has been placing quite a few orders in this vein over the past six months and more.

What we see here is pretty sensible behaviour for what is essentially a rapidly growing, government-backed startup company like NBN Co. The company has locked down contracts covering the first few years of its rollout, from both an equipment and construction point of view. It has also given itself the flexibility after that period (from around 2015) to change up its approach. Construction firm delivering poorly? After 2015, NBN Co will have the flexibility to switch to another one. Network equipment not up to spec? NBN Co still has the flexibility to find another supplier.

This approach makes absolute sense in the case of a long-term infrastructure project such as the NBN. You’re the biggest player in town; so you can sign medium-term deals and make suppliers dance to your tune.

But what if the National Broadband Network wasn’t a long-term infrastructure project? What if the Opposition Leader, who had continually threatened over several years to shut it down, was very likely to become the next Prime Minister, on the basis of consistent polling? What if the man likely, on that same polling, to become the next Communications Minister in charge of the NBN, had publicly promised to radically alter the style of the NBN?

If you were a prudent man, and politically aware, you’d bend with the prevailing sentiment of the times. As Malcolm Turnbull suggested this week, you’d refrain from entering into any major contracts in the time period before an upcoming Federal Election. You’d respect the potential incoming government’s wishes about not committing it to anything it wasn’t in favour of, while still progressing the NBN rollout as a whole.

However, let’s make no bones about it. When it comes to the political process, NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley has not proven himself to be a prudent man.

During the 2010 Federal Election, in the extremely early days of the NBN project, the project as a whole was facing obliteration at the hands of the Coalition. With Labor still carrying Julia Gillard’s extremely unpopular backstabbing of previous Prime Minister Kevin Rudd around its neck like an odious millstone, it was looking as though the Coalition was going to win power that year, and the NBN project shut down wholesale.

At that point, Quigley broke what many saw as his obligations under the election caretaker conventions and came out swinging in a direct and high-profile attack on the Coalition.

This is what he said at the time: “Far from being a ‘white elephant’, the NBN can provide an acceptable return for the government,” he said. “Taxpayers will get their $27 billion investment back with interest and they will get a network they can use for decades. This is, I believe, a much better option for the Australian public than giving billions of dollars of taxpayer funding to subsidise commercial companies to marginally improve today’s broadband networks.”

And on Tony Abbott’s view that it is not Government’s role to dictate what technologies it should support, because future technological development may make them obsolete? “To suggest that we not build a fibre-based network in Australia now, because maybe some new, but not yet imagined, technology may turn up, displays a rather naive view about how science and technology progresses,” said Quigley.

We’re also talking here about a NBN Co chief executive who has come under constant personal attack over the past few years from the Shadow Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

Turnbull has made no bones about the fact that he believes the management of NBN Co to be incompetent at its jobs and spent a great deal of time throughout 2011 implying links between Quigley and the corruption scandal which plagued the executive’s former employer, Alcatel-Lucent. Hell, as late as September 2012, Turnbull was telling community meetings in Sydney that that he did not believe Quigley had been “the right choice” to lead NBN Co, and that Quigley’s lack of “experience” in building fibre networks may be behind the NBN’s ‘dismal’ rollout schedule. He also implied that in a Coalition Government, “new management” would likely be required.

Guess who’s not going to have a job if the Coalition wins the Federal Election in September. Yup. Mike Quigley.

We must also consider the fact that the NBN project as it currently stands, using fibre to the premise technology, remains overwhelmingly popular with the everyday Australian. Polling has consistently shown that most Australians approve of the NBN, and would take up its higher speeds if they could get it. And more anecdotally, if you ask the man on the street whether Telstra is doing a good job running Australia’s existing copper broadband network (I often ask this question of taxi drivers), you’ll usually get the same response: Telstra’s doing a bad job, and the whole thing should be handed off to someone else. And by the way, can we have some of the fibre stuff they’ve got in Korea?

To sum up: Right now, NBN Co’s management really has nothing to lose. So why not go hog wild?

Unless the situation changes radically, on September 15 the company’s chief executive, and likely other members of its management team, will be out of a job. Its holy mission (and ‘holy’ is the way NBN Co personnel definitely see it) of bringing faster broadband to all Australians will be watered down dramatically and all of a sudden a Coalition Government will be breathing down the company’s neck to save every penny it can on its vastly reduced rollout.

If you assume the Coalition is going to win the upcoming Federal Election, it makes absolute sense for NBN Co to lock down as many long-term contracts as possible before that time. Screw the ‘caretaker conventions’, which aren’t law anyway and won’t apply until August. Sign up construction firms to 2020, buy as many fibre serving modules as possible from Alcatel-Lucent as possible and stockpile them in a warehouse in Melbourne, order fibre cabling by the thousands of kilometres and hire the best brains in the industry on lucrative contracts.

Make hay while the sun shines.

There are a number of awesome things about this approach. The first is that it’s completely legal. The second is that it will probably earn NBN Co brownie points with Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, who is the company’s ultimate boss right now. The third is that it will really annoy the Coalition, which has publicly threatened to sack NBN Co’s management anyway and wind the project down. So why not get even before that can happen?

But the last reason is the best, and that, in fact, is why I am writing this article in the first place. Petty vengeance is nice at times. However, making sure the NBN is rolled out as widely as possible and as quickly as possible is also objectively the right thing for Australians as a whole, as right now, the NBN policy is a damn sight better than anything the Coalition has come up with. And deploying fibre to every house is also what the majority of Australians want right now. A little bit of political activism within the completely legal boundaries of NBN Co’s management doing its actual job would go a long way.

If you’re going to go out, NBN Co, go out in style.


      • I’ve noticed that he appears to deliberately misspell Renai as Rene. Unless Rene is an acceptable short-form?

        • But of course deliberate misspellings of Malcom as Malware or Turnbull as Turdbull passes in multiple postings throughout Delimiter without dissenting any comment whatever.

          • I have always found it childish when people post using derogatory versions of political figure’s names.

            Turnbull is a proven liar. That is a fact. It is sufficient to highlight his fact and the accompanying disgust that it engenders without resorting to childishness.

          • @Paul and Alain

            I have always found that sort of name calling childish and unnecessary. I have never done it. Turnbull may be misleading at best and a liar at worst, but he is STILL a human being and deserves to be treated with respect as a person. We are not 5 year olds in a playground. He should also have the respect for Renai to do the same.

          • Actually, Turdball was his nickname at Goldman Sachs apparently (when he was off his game, when he was on his game, it was Turbo).

      • jumped the shark? i dont think it means what he thinks it means. while it certainly will be pushing the coalitions ideological buttons, i definitely dont think its made that moniker.

        as for ‘Rene’ i think its more from the ‘stupid, quasireligious’ songsheet. insult with very little value to the debate, which in this case is worth tens of billions, whoevers policy comes through. poor form, Malcolm.

      • I miss the Cascade of the 60’s and 70’s before the master brewer was promoted to be the master Brewer in the Pearly gates, took his flair/secrets with him. The technologists could never match his artistry

      • If you’re a Coopers Pale fan, you really should try Vale Ale from SA. It’s tops!

  1. Continuing down that path, Quigley could renegotiate his contract for an upfront payment. Whats the point of firing a man who has already been paid for the next 8 years?

    • Not to mention that you would also be locking in equipment and labour pricing at todays rate…… no chance of contracts costing more due to rising costs in 7 years time.

  2. Spot on Renai. Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes.
    The fact that the NBN is so immensely popular across the country, makes this idea right on so many levels. Hell, every MP, (esp rural) no matter which party, is desperate to get it for his/her electorate.
    The greater the coverage promised and the deals signed, the bigger the voter backlash if an Abbott Govt tries to turn back the tide.
    Win win.

    • Nice to see he put the same amount of thought and honest application into the reply that he does into his costing efforts.

  3. So am I now a ‘pro-NBN zealot journalist’ who is whipping up fervour for ‘the ultimate broadband’ and has now ‘jumped the shark’? :)

    • Yes! Take it like the biased, quasi-religious, fibre-purist zealot we all know you are! ;-)

    • we’ve known that for a long time though Renai :)

      However, JuLIAR called a sept 14 election, its in stone, the question is, has she formally told the GG?
      If so, the Govt is in caretaker mode, if they have not formally told her, and I dont recall them doing so, then they cant be, which means do we trust the election will be 14/9 or not…

      • Who is Juliar? And why do they have anything to do with the election?
        Also; is Julia Gillard a “liar” because she said she wouldn’t have a carbon tax? What about Tony Abbott and his comment that the best way to fight climate change is through a carbon tax… Does that make him better or worse than Gillard.

        Is it better that he is willing to promote a course of action for Australia that he believes is worse for political expediency, or is it better that Julia is willing to change her mind so that what she believes in can be addressed in the best way? (As backed up by ?Tony Abbotts own opinion as the best way to tax emissions).

        Who do you trust more?

          • That wouldn’t be Mr “Core” and “Non-Core” Promises, would it? Honest John?

            Luckily, his spirit lives on in Mr “Don’t Trust Anything I Say Unless It’s Written Down”.

          • I can never remember if that statement, from our dear Leader of the Opposition, was actually given in writing as well?

          • And Tony lied about health (and a bunch of other stuff since, with my favourite being “An NBNCo connection costs three times more than ADSL2+”…shame he’s not a “tech head” and knows absolutely nothing about either system, including the cost).

      • I assume you making reference to the quote that there will be no carbon tax under any government that JG leads. Unfortunately the full quote is:
        “There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead, BUT I AM DETERMINED TO PUT A PRICE ON CARBON”.
        So, she’s put a price on carbon? And only the coalition call it a tax? Could it be that actually Tony Abbott is the liar by taking the quote out of context? And this was said before the election and before a coalition was formed with the Greens. Policies changed because it’s a coalition of Labor and the Greens just as the Tony Abbott would have had to change policies himself to form a coalition with the Greens.

        I say NBNco should sign contracts up to the point of no return. Saying they should be in caretaker mode for almost a quarter of their term is quite frankly ridiculous. I want them to get on with the job they were voted in to do and if the coalition win and want to stop the NBN in it’s tracks then that’s their decision and it’s on their own heads if they waste tax payers money shutting it down.

      • given that once you hit three years it is forced to be called anyway, afaik, i think you can trust that if it is not on 14/9 it will be within weeks of that date at worst, were that to be just a placeholder date. not really such an issue, certainly to me, given the clear lines set down regarding elections.

        in any case, quit the trash talking. i give Malcolm the credit of using his proper name even if i dont agree with his politics. it would be nice if the same happened the other way. otherwise you are taking things down to the gutter – something im heartily sick of in aussie politics.

    • I’m sure someone in Malcolm’s office has realised that with long term contracts in place for the NBN (enough to force the project to completion) he could go all out on the Government for being fiscally irresponsible, score several political points, and concede that there is now no way to reverse the ‘White Elephant’ (that he secretly loves), virtually guaranteeing the LNP the 2013 election.

      • the man is a hypocrite, i dont care what he says he loves – its probably a political expediency for him.

        theres a very good reason that the LNP, specifically turnbull, has not released detailed costings – they do not exist.

        i dont care about what contracts NBNCo have entered into, why cant we see the costings the LNP say they have? there must be a reasonably detailed plan behind those numbers so lets see that too – but i can bet anything we will never seem them, they simply do not exist and this is just LNP smoke and mirrors.

        • Considering the actual real world state of Telstra’s copper infrastructure how could he actually have any realistic idea of the costing let alone the technology

          • @alain

            Indeed. What IS its’ state? And how long should we, the Australian people who paid for it and who are backing the paying for replacing it, wait for an answer on whether 2 squabbling children think it’s appropriate to replace it? 2 years? 5 years? While we continue with bad BB?

            Indeed alain, what IS the status of Telstra’s copper? We as its’ original builders AND ultimate users and loser of using it, have every right to know. But it happens to be commercially owned, so we don’t get that privilege. So we have to deal with what we DO know, which is that a large section of it is in disrepair and is getting worse every day.

          • Well, the best we can go by is what Telstra says and they said it had to be replaced within 15 years 10 years ago. Couldn’t be much life left in it now.
            “ageing lines are now at “five minutes to midnight”‘
            “described ADSL as the “last sweat” of revenue Telstra could wring out of the 100-year-old copper wire network.”

          • I was asking the question of Abel who seemed to know the answer.

            ‘Considering the actual real world state of Telstra’s copper’

            Where in fact in the ‘actual real world’ no one really knows, just like the state of Telstra ducting until you actually start doing fibre pull throughs.

          • Having read Abel’s knowledgable posts previously I’d suggest he has many answers. Bu even if Abel only has one answer, let’s be frank now… that’s one more than you have ever offered ;)

          • It’s state is 3.5Mbps down speed for me.

            I’m considering moving to the outback now, as I can get a satellite connection right now with NBNCo, and based on contracts already made they will more than likely get those NBNCo birds up in the air with the upgraded bandwidth.
            Then all you idiots who voted LNP get to subsidise my connection. :)

  4. At the last election, Gillard warned that only a Labor government would deliver an NBN. The same line will be used in this years election. There is not way that Labor would want contracts locked in place such that a FTTH NBN would be delivered regardless of who won government. There are plenty of people, myself included, who have never voted Labor in the past, but would change their vote to prevent the Liberals from scrapping the NBN or replacing it with something inferior.

  5. Possibly your best advice ever Renai! NBNco should entrench themselves so thickly in contracts, and construct as much as physically possible between now and the election, that it makes it near impossible to turn back. I guess the more difficult it is to roll back, the more likely it is for the Coalition to change their tune and at least partly adapt to incorporate some FTTP areas in the NBN’s plan. Surley they won’t disconnect people already connected with FTTH? Or will they artificially slow their connection to match FTTN plans?

    All going well I’ll be connected to the NBN before the next election, so I’d really like to know what will happen to my connection should the Coalition win. Not just for my sake either obviously. It’s the nationwide ubiquity of the NBN I find so appealing, which seems to be the opposite of Turnbull’s “technology agnostic” plans.

  6. With you all the way on this one Renai. It would be business stupidity but sometimes you are forced into these things by idiot politicians trying to kill our NBN. By the way Conroy would have a coronary if this happened. The NBN is one of the very few things going for Labor at the moment. Labors message is vote for us to get NBN or vote for LNP and get shit. If the NBN is locked in ironically the LNP would have a far greater chance of winning.

    To all the doom sayers out there about Labors chances don’t get sucked in by the MSM rhetoric of a guaranteed LNP victory. The “real” polls are a lot closer than reported and there are a few bombs rolling around the back of Abbotts bus that could go off at any moment. Labor is behind but it is still a long way to the election.

  7. Great article and a great idea.
    Also I am sure all of the contracted companies are acutely aware that if the Liberals get in they stand to miss out on a great deal of money. Surely that would put the NBNco in a fantastic position to negotiate future contracts “Take the deal, you may not get another chance”.

  8. This is the nations money, and the largest single investment at that – not some sort of free money that people have the right to spend up big as they may or may not have a job. Do the right thing long term both morally and ethically.

    Put simply some money targeted on improving services to regional areas (as its not cost effective on a business case) and improved network overseas would have fixed 95% of peoples concerns.

    Let me see all the people that want to invest their own saving in the NBN, or do they just want someone else to pay. Spending just 1/3 of that money on our education system would produce amazing results for our nation, not fibre to my house so people can stream movies.

    • They can still do that.

      They are not spending a cent on the NBN. It all gets paid back .. with interest!

      Why is this so hard to understand?

      • @Trev

        ‘They are not spending a cent on the NBN. It all gets paid back .. with interest!

        Why is this so hard to understand?’

        Because it is not 2033 yet maybe?

        • “Why is this so hard to understand?’

          Because it is not 2033 yet maybe?”

          I agree.

          I mean, until you actually hit the ground how could you possibly predict that stepping off the 10th story could be a bad idea?

    • Firstly, the premise of your post is simply wrong.

      If only 50% of the 12 million premises the NBN plans to cover take up only the basic plan – (at $24.00 pcm) – the AVC revenue alone – (ignoring CVC revenue, which is harder to calculate) – comes to $1.73b per year.

      That’s $51b of revenue over the 30-year financial term of the project.

      Imagine if 75% of people take up just the base service – now we’d be up to $76.5b in revenue.

      This doesn’t include other revenue sources – (AVC, business services, multiple service per premise, etc) – so anyone who think this can’t or won’t make money is kidding themselves.

      This thing pays for itself and becomes a government asset at the end.

      It’s been done before. It’s called “Australia Post”.

      Onto your education point – sure, spending $10b on the education system would be a great thing too – but the NBN is about spending $35b on the entire economy.

      This will improve education outcomes. This will improve business outcomes. It will improve environmental outcomes.

      It improves many things.

      Stop listening to the rhetoric, and open your imagination.

      Imagination is something Australia has lacked for a long long time.

      Let us lead the world – what’s wrong with that?

      • Revenue is one thing, but profit is a totally different assumption.

        As your a numbers man too, how is it going to cost over the 30 years?

        • I never claimed it was profit.

          …and I’m not a numbers man – I can just see past the bluster.

          As for costs, yes – I do not, and cannot have a number for that – but any company that can expect such revenues, and given that the cost base should reduce over the 30 year period – (since they’ll only be building for the first 10) – expect NOT to make a profit?

          The business plan spells it all out. You should perhaps read it.

          • @Michael Wyres

            ‘The business plan spells it all out. You should perhaps read it.’

            I have, it says Government funding and all debt will be paid back by 2033, as the NBN Co have not negotiated any debt yet as it is planned for 2015 I find it interesting how they know they can pay it back by 2033.

          • The ACCC doesn’t want to “know where NBNCo got it’s figures”, it’s requesting the actual figures so they can model various scenarios. Seems like a practical thing to do considering the things they have over-sight on.

            “The ACCC said it was seeking the information to assess how revenue and expenditure would impact on changes in levels of demand and how different products are priced.

        • I find it sad, that even when the facts are spelled out and staring nay-sayers in the face, instead of them accpeting the facts… they are compelled (for whatever their reasons) to find a yeah but, no matter how lame it may be :/

          • “they are compelled (for whatever their reasons) to find a yeah but, no matter how lame it may be”

            That works both ways Alex, both, ways :P

          • Indeed…

            However, even ardent supporters like me have had concerns such as POI’s, CVC, ensuring the ACCC do their job,etc and mentioned them, because although we think the NBN would be fantastic, we nonetheless have/or have had these concerns.

            Whereas go back through 99% of NBN detractors and they will argue that the NBN is 100% wrong, no good, wasteful and even repeat untruths… why?

      • Funny you should mention revenue…

        Telstra Corp, NBNco’s biggest wholesale customer, and probably the most knowledgeable and experienced market player with the best market intelligence, thinks NBNco’s revenue projections are completely unrealistic:

        “Telstra does not expect that these potential wholesale price increases allowed by the cap would be sustainable when translated into corresponding retail prices. That is, it creates the real possibility that wholesale prices are set such that [retail service providers/RSPs] cannot supply services at retail prices that end-users would be willing to pay.”

        So, you can ignore the costs side of the equation and squeal about revenue, but even their revenue numbers don’t stack up


        No need to reply.


        • And you don’t think Telstra (an RSP, who would of course like minimal access costs) would be posturing or trying to haggle?

          • The man said no need to reply….. obviously he said all that could be said on the matter.

        • Apart from the entire argument being based on an incorrect reading.

          Telstra are claiming the price to consumers may be more than the consumer is prepared to pay. That has nothing to do with NBNco revenue & everything to do with Telstra’s revenue.

          If there are competition concerns, the ACCC can be called on.

          • I know NBN worshippers like to compress every issue through the false lens of “Telstra v. Rest of the World” and deflect and distort the real underlying significance of matters raised….

            but, here’s a senior iiNet executive (formerly Internode’s Chief Telstra-basher) backing Telstra’s assertions:


            As his comments make clear, this is not a Telstra-specific issue — this is an industry specific issue. Hence, if ISPs refuse to provision certain levels of transit capacity, NBNco’s revenue projections fall apart. And, obviously, NBNco, as a wholesale-only operator, has zero influence on ISPs’ retail product configuration and bandwidth provisioning.


            No need to reply.


          • Interesting that you come to a forum such as this where replies is what it’s all about, let loose your spiel and then always end with no need to reply…LOL.

            BTW – no reply needed *sigh*

          • So the NBN charges Telstra $24 for their clients connection. How much does Telstra add on to that $24 for it to become “a retail price that end-users would be willing to pay”?

            Most RSP’s are looking at adding $30 to $50 for what should be their most common plans. Which is about what ADSL2 plans cost right now FYI.

            If they are more than that, its because they are bundling phone services as well, negating the extra cost of the phone line you need for your ADSL now. And before someone mentions naked broadband, have you seen the extra it costs? Its cheaper to have the phone line.

          • You’ve not read my response. You’ve assumed.

            Let me say this again, so that you may read it and comprehend:

            “Telstra are claiming the price to consumers may be more than the consumer is prepared to pay. That has nothing to do with NBNco revenue & everything to do with Telstra’s revenue.”

            The same can be said for iiNet’s comments. They, like any RSP, are concerned with having a viable future via the NBN. That means a saleable product and service.

            Telstra are no longer the sole proprietor in position of a monopoly infrastructure ownership role.

            If there are competition concerns, the ACCC exists for that purpose. NBNco are compelled through policy and legislation and contracts to make a return. It’s a not-negotiable term of the funding.

            Feel free to reply – because unlike the “Telstra is right, all you jerks are wrong” brigade, I don’t feel the need to shut down conversation when someone doesn’t agree with me.

      • I note again, that nowhere have I read any assumptions/figures on the revenue that the GST will/may return. Correct me if I am wrong because I would love to see those figures as well. And as I understand it, most of that goes back to the states which are predominantly LNP at the moment. So everyone wins.

          • Did you even read that article Alain?

            They asked for the figures to model various scenarios for the SAU, not because they “would like to know where the NBN Co gets its figures from also”. Also, nice FUD mate.

            From the article:

            “This information will be used to model the implications of a range of cost, demand, pricing and revenue scenarios for the long-term revenue constraint methodology in the SAU over the SAU term,” the ACCC said.

          • Yeah I read it.

            ‘NBN Co has also been asked to provide details on how it developed forecast figures for expenditure, demand, price and revenue.’

            As I said the NBN Co has been asked how it got its figures.

          • Ah, ok, your original post about it made it sound like it was because the ACCC was suspicious of something nefarious, and not just requesting more info to double check various SAU scenarios…

            I guess it’s just in the way you read it, thanks for the clarification.

    • So I take it you will be increasing school fees for all children to pay for this?

      How will these children do their homework without a functioning internet connection?

      Better internet will allow our children to access quality educational materials from around the world.

      Also I would invest my money in the NBN through government bonds there is no other country in the world with a better credit rating than Australia and also providing a rate of return on investment some countries are offering 0% return on investments.

      Incentive’s to companies in the past has not worked Telstra have only just started fixing there problems with RIM Cabinets and only in some areas before that I and Many Many others had only Wireless and with so many people using it the download speed was slower than dial up.

      • Go on name one school that does not have functioning Internet in this country.

        Just one.

        • You’re right. Who needs more than a horse-and-cart. It will (forever) be a suitable mass transport system, regardless of what changes around it.

        • I can think of several, which my wife has worked at, where the internet wasn’t particularly functional. I have been roped into helping out more than I would wish. Thankfully the school she is currently at now has a competent IT contractor in.

          I am not going to name them, as I don’t give out personal or identifying information freely.

          The lack of functionality was caused by a lot of factors, including the health/components of the internal network within the school (not just how fat the pipe to the school is). But blanket claims that all schools have ‘functioning’ internet are wrong, and come across as Alan Jones style soundbites rather than reality.

          • The following is one such sound bite:
            How will these children do their homework without a functioning internet connection?

            The NBN is not going to fix the internal wiring issues of any place schools included.

          • So no schools in Australia had students that lifted their grades unless they had NBN?


          • Nothing to do with strawman at all, a proper study would compare grades at NBN connected schools with grades at non NBN connected schools to come up with a fair and objective analysis of the benefits of being on the NBN.

            Who was the study commissioned by I wonder?

          • You’d ignore the outcome, though, alain, because it doesn’t fit “the story” that the NBN is apparently a pointless exercise.

          • So you thought it was a open and objective analysis that looked at a fair representation of schools from a number of areas with different network links?

          • Just to add, so if Telstra commissioned a survey of one school that had hooked up to Telstra LTE and the outcome was the grades had increased, you would be comfortable with the conclusion it was because of Telstra LTE?

          • Show us where a Teacher has said LTE has helped and I would be comfortable to agree with their hands-on findings… oh you can’t, can you?

            It’s all conjecture, smokescreen, a strawman.

            But you know what, unlike you, I CAN show you (thanks to Bruce H) a Teacher who did say the NBN helped…

            But still you aren’t comfortable and won’t accept it… sad really.

          • Nothing will fix internal wiring, probably because copper is irrelevant to FTTH?

            Kind of like repairing a meat grinder for a vegitarian.

            But keep on quoting Alan Jones. It’s hilarious.

          • Why not use Wifi N is more than capable for current NBN (160Mbps) and AC is minimum 500Mbps

      • “How will these children do their homework without a functioning internet connection?”


        Did I SERIOUSLY just read that ?

        perhaps AJ, EXACTLY how they have done it for thousands of years.

        *shakes head* If AJ is an example of todays education fuck me, are WE in trouble.

        • Today’s school syllabus is written with the assumption that a child will have access to the internet at home to study and research.

          The evolution of our current system of learning is nowhere near thousands of years old more like 100-200 years

          “Providing literacy to most children has been a development of the last 150 or 200 years, or even last 50 years in some Third World countries.”

    • @Trevor: And therein lies the crux of this argument. People for the project expect it as a long term fix. People against see it as an “expensive and/or unnecessary fix”

      Anybody can fix the problems we have now. In fact w/ Telstra upgrading Top Hats to a number of exchanges means that we know have ADSL2+ coverage for most urban areas will fix a majority of the urban congestion problem. That’s a fine fix “for now”. Whether that will be the case in a mere two years time remains to be seen.

      The question here is how far do you want to look ahead and how much are you willing to spend? A short term fix will always be the cheapest in the outset. But if your frame of reference is that “its not needed” and a just need a “fix now” no argument will ever convince you that this project is a “good” project. Even *if* it was funded by taxpayers money would you prefer if we just keep patching an incumbent aging infrastructure? or would you prefer the extra mile to ensure the infrastructure lasts long enough?

      Also contrary to popular belief just spending on “improving rural areas only” is perhaps one of the biggest commercial losses you could ever do. It will never pay for itself simply because of the small population and tyranny of distance. The beauty of an NBN is that the investment in the metro areas will make up for the costs on the rural areas.

      Finally your insinuating that the cost is in one lump sum that can never be recovered. Its not. It’s staggered over a set period (which means that the costs in itself are drastically reduced per annum) that will be gaining interests as it continues (which means that as it rolls on it’s also recouping the cost AND paying back interest). For every section of the country that’s finished you will be getting customers that are already paying the cost of the build back. And since it will be a “national” roll out at the end of the day *everyone* will be a customer under the NBN.

    • Trevor, if I could borrow $28bn at 3.25% interest over 10 years and invest it in a company that would return me 7% interest plus principle in 7 years (3 years before I was due to pay a cent on that $28bn that I borrowed), then I sure as hell would. I would make $4bn profit without ever having to worry about a single payment!

      Why don’t people understand this? Oh that’s right, because they don’t bother to fact check Liberal spin.

      • You might have heard of this concept known as “risk”, see the NBN might return 7% or might not. The government of the day, may choose to back it to the full, or it might not. Get it?

        • There’s a risk in breathing too, but don’t let that stop you from doing it ;o)

        • “You might have heard of this concept known as “risk”, see the NBN might return 7% or might not. The government of the day, may choose to back it to the full, or it might not. Get it?”

          you are right on the ‘might’. but given the structure of the plan, particularly that the two biggest players in Telstra and Optus will be migrating their lines over it then becomes a REASONABLE risk. there is a small but not-zero chance an operator with comparable market size to those two might decide to get involved in the aussie market. there is also a smaller chance – to the point of vanishing – that a new standard could be mooted, passed through ITU, chipsets made sampled and tested for commercial use, then commercially released by the time the NBN is slated to be completed construction.

          further, that this hypothetical tech will be anything more than an incremental gain on what is already available, or that telcos would be interested in spending all over again to garner the benefit, after just going through the worklog for NBN, would be reasons not to pin ones hopes on it making a material difference.

          so on the timescale involved those possibilities would be unreasonable to assume, with the upshot that reasonable risk involved with the current plan is worth assuming NOW rather than waiting on a future that may or may not – most likely not – going to happen. the risk that DSL will fail to be of utility also rises the further along you go so making the investment NOW continues to be the reasonable course, in my view. that applies equally to the Coalition offering btw, tho its utility value is diminished in that it is a stopgap that will need redoing sooner rather than later.

          as far as the Coalition is concerned, they are – so far as we know – not investing but spending in a subsidy plan, which to me is more risky, certainly to the govt budget, than a plan which at least makes an infrastructure return. therefore of the two i still see the Labor plan as assuming more reasonable risks than the alternative, and has more merit in pursuing.

    • Trevor, not sure if you’ve got the memo, but the NBNco isn’t a charity. It’s mandate is to make a return.

      So, your entire argument is based on a premise that doesn’t exist.

        • There is plenty of risk in the NBN rollout, it is detailed in Section 10 of the 2012-2015 Corporate Plan, the areas identified that could impact revenue projections are speed and usage, wireless substitution, short term lower than anticipated take-up, longer term impact of cherry picking (including Point-to-Point), regulated pricing at levels lower than assumed for purposes of the Corporate Plan, and the impact of backhaul costs on demand related to the number of Points of Interconnect.

          • you can add those risks to my reply just now @ 5.53, but they dont materially affect my conclusion. i dont see any of those as being insurmountable, necessitating dismantling the Plan – a modification can account for most of those. the old phrase not throwing the baby out with the bathwater comes to mind….. this is definitely one of those cases.

          • Well no doubt the reason the NBN Co identified the risks is so it can try to try and mitigate those risks, but it depends on a number of things going to plan and one of the key items is the NBN Co SAU that is being currently being evaluated by the ACCC being approved with minimal change.

          • It’s a good thing they were so conservative then. So far they are way ahead of projections in a lot of areas, especial expected take up speeds.

          • @ alain, I’ll talk about them….

            You mean the active connections that YOU admitted (as per the permalinks below) weren’t happening simply because the ISP’s have a vested interest (it’s more profitable) NOT to transfer customers to the NBN?



            Ah yes, thanks for that :)

            Q. Will you ever stop talking contradictory shit.

            A. (as you never answer questions)… NO

          • But the ultimate decision rests with the customer, that was just a discussion on ISP margins, if a customer wants a NBN Plan bad enough they will sign up for it immediately it is available, after all it is Nation Building, but then again they may be happy with ‘obsolete’ ADSL2+ or Naked DSL, they will come across to the NBN only when they have to.

          • Why would someone, who isn’t tech savvy, change over if they aren’t aware of the advantages, keep hearing from the opposition how wasteful and unnecessary the while elephant is is and particularly, if their ISP is (perhaps), as you clearly suggest it is in their interest to do… telling them here’s no need change over yet?….

            Once again you are having a typical contradictory each way bet.

            Supporting Telstra (as you always do) suggesting the access fees to Telstra’s network are too low, which means ISP’s are making a motza and would be worse off on the NBN and then questioning why people aren’t (necessarily) signing up to the NBN…

            Once again I ask… 1 + 1 = ?

        • Replacing the previous FUD buzzwords white elephant, waste, monopoly and socialist, with the word “risk”, doesn’t make the NBN anymore “risky” either :/

    • “Let me see all the people that want to invest their own saving in the NBN, or do they just want someone else to pay.”

      I will. I know I’ll make my money back. However I insist NBNco charges those opposed to the project triple for their connection… Let me see all the people opposed to the NBN who don’t want a fibre connection.

      “Spending just 1/3 of that money on our education system would produce amazing results for our nation”

      Really? Are you sure about that? This year about $29.5 billion will be spent on education whereas the NBN is $35 billion over 9 years so that’s about $4 billion per year. Divide by 3 = $1.3 billion + $29.5 billion = $30.8 billion. Yes, real “amazing result” there.

    • You know the ALP is planning on spending on education too, right?

      If the Libs are true to usual form, they’ll reduce public education spending (but they’ll make sure private schools are looked after).

    • “Spending just 1/3 of that money on our education system would produce amazing results for our nation, not fibre to my house so people can stream movies.”

      you cannot borrow money to pay for education, i dont think its actually legal to do so, but, you can borrow it to build the nbn, and once its completed let it make a profit and either filter that back into nbnco for expansion of the fibre footprint, or use it to build more hospitals, libraries and roads.

  9. I could not agree with this article more – get all of the contracts signed now (for however long it takes!) and they should go for their life!

    I’d love to see how the coalition is going to ful-fill their promises – guaranteed that someone will be disappointed.

    My guess – they won’t do anything, the nbn will be cancelled and Australia will be back to where it was just before the 2007 election.

    Of course, if Turnbull was opposition leader – things might be different.

  10. The NBN was always about getting the Labor party elected. Which worked.
    It was thought up in a short time frame to trap the Coalition and crush Telstra.

    What is a fair return on a $35 billion investment? And I’m talking dollars?

    One minute we are going to fall behind, next we are going to lead the world.

    Ask India what they would do with $35 billion, I doubt it would go on high tech networks, more likely health, education and environment directly – not some big NBN fund that people have been brainwashed to think we need.

    • “The NBN was always about getting the Labor party elected.”
      You have zero evidence of that; but even if it was true, so what? Does that preclude it from being good policy?

      “It was thought up in a short time frame to trap the Coalition and crush Telstra.” yeah totally, short amount of time.

      “What is a fair return on a $35 billion investment? And I’m talking dollars?”
      $30 billion, not 35. It’s a government investment doing what governments are supposed to do, build the services and spend the money that individuals and private companies can’t or won’t do themselves. A single dollar returned is more than fair.

      “Ask India what they would do with $35 billion, I doubt it would go on high tech networks, more likely health, education and environment directly”
      News flash: India and Australia are different countries with different needs. Additionally, if India didn’t need that money in the meantime and they could get all the money back and then some as we are doing with our NBN, sure, why wouldn’t they build one? It wouldn’t stop them spending money on other stuff.

      “some big NBN fund that people have been brainwashed to think we need”
      I don’t think there is a single politician – Labor, Liberal, Australian Sex Party, or anyone else – that doesn’t agree we need some kind of NBN-style rollout.

    • “The NBN was always about getting the Labor party elected.”


      Remember Oakeshott’s speech?

      It was the NBN that swayed Windsor and Oakeshott to give their vote to the ALP. Had the LNP supported the NBN, they may well be in power now.

      By definition ALL POLICIES are designed to get the party spouting them into power.

    • We can’t have option A, because option B might miss out?

      Here’s the thing; option A has nothing to do with the funding of B. None. Health and Education funding wouldn’t magically go up without the NBN. Because the funding source was never at the cost of either.

      Ironically, both will benefit massively from the introduction of the NBN.

    • Trevor, India is actually using a lot of money on national internet infrastructure because it is the one thing that is holding back their outsourcing industry which is the single most important driver in their Economy to move people from the lowest class into middle class.

      The Indian government recognises the value of fast broadband for educating future workers as well as expanding capacity to bring in new work: Pg52: “, this model suggests that broadband has generated nearly 9 million jobs in direct and indirect ways.”

      But I hear that Russia might spend the money different, try that country next.

      • Great.. more ppl who want to try “fix my windows”

        havnt had those calls for ages, guess they’ll soon be back… that’s ok, i didnt mind them, I let em run round for over 20 mins trying to connect to my windows, if only i could see the expression of their faces right at teh end when I explain maybe they cant connect to “fix my windows” because I use opensuse on my laptop, desktop, and even work desktop buwhahahaha

        oh fun times… but whilst I had fun at THEIR expense, thats 20 plus mins less they had to piss off someone else who might be clueless and gullible enough to genuinely take them up on their offer and get phished.

        • Commentator 1: India wouldn’t waste this money!
          Reply: Yes they do
          Commentator 2: India just make bullshit phone calls!


      • @Bruce H

        ‘Trevor, India is actually using a lot of money on national internet infrastructure because it is the one thing that is holding back their outsourcing industry which is the single most important driver in their Economy to move people from the lowest class into middle class.’

        Which is a interesting conundrum as most of Australia’s largest corporations outsource IT to India quite extensively, so India is spending $$$ on infrastructure to enhance their ability to outsource to Australia and the rest of the World, Australia is spending $$$ on infrastructure a key reason being to enhance watching TV.

        • “Australia is spending $$$ on infrastructure a key reason being to enhance watching TV”

          Yes, thats right, the NBN is just a huge upgrade to Foxtel /facepalm

  11. The truly bizarre thing about the Libs/Malcolms call for a “Virtual caretaker mode” is the logic they are using means no government could ever function, as there would always be another one following.

    Monty Pythons Flying Liberal Circus flies on…

  12. Turnbull has labeled the government as care taker. Might as well “take care” of the NBN, right?

  13. I suggested the same strategy in an earlier post of mine, it’s legal and valid and it’s done all the time, the Labour governments in NSW continued the various freeway programs locked in by Greiners Liberal Government that knew they were going to loose the election.Long term defence contacts entered into by many Governments have always been honoured even if opposed at the time of the contract (Howards dumbass naval helicopter program comes to mind,1.5 billion spent and nothing ever flew).

    • Look at the deal for the desalination plant in Victoria.

      The ALP government of the time locked it all up so that the incoming Liberal government couldn’t do anything about it. Victoria has to pay the company operating it a LARGE retainer for 30 years or something, even if a single drop of water never comes out of it.

      It was contractually watertight – (pun not intended).

      • You are quoting an example of Labor party infrastructure waste and one of the reasons the Brumby Government got rolled by the Baillieu Coalition Government as an example of how it should be done?


        • I don’t blame the ALP for investing in the desal plant following 11 consecutive years of drought that were only recently broken. I call it planning for the future, just in case we get a return of the drought.

          • Well we know what the electorate thinks about Governments that ‘plan for the future’ with infrastructure projects that go way over budget and are not completed on time.

          • Yes, just like the the liberal promise to deliver on the Protective services officers on trains. Not going so well, I hear.

          • There was a liberal election promise that would upgrade my local train station, including installing a lift to get between platforms (lots of old people in my suburb). They are finally doing work: replacing the rotting wooden bridge with … another wooden bridge, without a lift or anything else promised. If the bridge wasn’t literally falling down they’d be doing nothing!

          • That’s their usual methodology, why replace it with something better, or more effective, when wood will do!?

          • Alain, if an LNP Government is so good at managing infrastructure cost overruns – name ONE project that they’ve completed that WASNT overbudget.

          • @Master T

            Where did I say the LNP what be better at managing cost overruns? – my point is about electorates punishing incumbent Governments if they feel too many promises have been broken, Labor or Coalition.

  14. While it would amuse me greatly and I’d be happy for them to do it, I just don’t think it would be something they do…. But if they did… GO NBN!

    If they did and the Coalition got elected (I hope not, and I’m not exactly happy with Labor either… least worst of 2 evils so to speak), I’d love to hear/see Malcolm Turnbull’s reaction when he’s told that.

  15. I don’t think NBNco really has to do anything, apart from continue on doing.


    Turnbull is squirming over the fact the project has managed to somehow actually continue along depsite all the political posturing.

    Death Stare Alice has decided the government is now “virtual” (I don’t think that means what you think it to mean).

    .. and Abbott? “Well.. I’m no tech head Kerry”.

    NBNco can pretty much go ahead and lock most of the deployment in at this point, it’d make the outcome a forgone conclusion; but I suspect that’d make it easier for the Coalition to win power.. so I sort of don’t see it happening. ;)

  16. On a side note i heard the Coalition may provide incentives for businesses and Aussie in general (and perhaps even force public servants) to live in rural towns, if elected.

    Whilst I think the idea certainly has merit (apart from forcing anyone to move, against their will), wouldn’t improved comms, such as let’s have a stab… a “state of the art (my words alain, not the Labor party’s)” NBN… say… just like the one we are currently building, play a major role in such a plan?

  17. ‘Scuse me for being ignorant, or even off topic, if the nbn is shut down/altered, (i hope not) they have already borrowed the $37B right? so a new govt would inherit that loan? how, and with what, will/would it be paid off with, seeing that what it was borrowed for in the first place would be defunct, and not have the projected income/return to pay it off with?? I assume, and i dont know, if its changed, its going to cost australia a lot more somewhere down the track?

    • No, the entire amount hasn’t been borrowed, nor is the amount to be borrowed $37b.

      Only approx $11b is coming from borrowings. The government is funding the $26b remaining directly.

      This is because NBN Co has to develop a credit rating BEFORE it can borrow such a large amount of equity from the debt market.

      From revenues, the $26b comes back to the government – (plus 7%) – and the $11b (plus interest) is repaid.

  18. “If you’re going to go out, NBN Co, go out in style.”

    BEST Advice EVER!!! I couldn’t agree more!

  19. We actually know how much it will cost if the Coalition cancels the NBN, it was in the Labor 2012-2013 Budget.

    Termination liabilities are at 1.8 billion, all the Coalition has to do is state that their version of the NBN saves at least twice that – problem solved.

    As the NBN Co is not going to the debt markets for further funding until 2015 the Coalition could place a hold on that or squeeze it as a cost saving measure.

    They could also renegotiate the Telstra and Optus agreements.

    • And the add on trillions in lost productivity due to LNP stupidity and short sightedness!

    • Much simpler way to look at it:

      Say, $1 billion FTTH build contract.

      Option A: Real market value on completion: $500 million —> $500mn loss on asset writedown

      Option B: Default on contract — damages for loss of profit assuming 5% profit margin for contractor —> $50mn contract pay-out

      Which is more attractive to a Lib Government struggling to balance the budget?


      No need to reply.


      • I think you’ll find that the default on the contract would be a loss of $1bn, so the loss is double (using your dodgy figures pulled directly from your arse), because you get nothing for your money. Those contracts are not your average joe solicitor penned 5 pagers.

      • @The Truth Hurts

        Seriously? You REALLY think the contracts have a 5% cancellation clause?? 5%???!!

        Wow, can see you’re not in business…

        • Damages is a legal concept. You’d know if you went to law school.

          Even if NBNco was mandated under the Australian Constitution to build FTTH, there are myriad reasons why NBNco, as a negotiating party to the various contracts, would want to maximise its flexibility to modify, vary and limit its legal obligations under the contractual relationships if certain adverse scenarios play out (nothing to do with change in government policies).

          If you seriously think NBNco’s highly-paid legal advisers are drafting legal contracts to deliberately put NBNco in the most inferior legal position possible to limit its operational flexibility and maximise business risk, you are simply insulting the general competence of senior management.


          Good night.


          • @Truth Hurts

            Do you truly expect people never to reply to your posts just by putting that lovely salutation at the end??

            If YOU believe NBNCo. aren’t PAINFULLY aware of the ramifications of change of government and aren’t doing ANYTHING pushing what is responsible and legal to ensure they get as far along of their goal to provide 93% FTTH and 7% satellite and wireless, you don’t know the people working for NBNCo.

            There is NOTHING illegal or “vulnerable” about NBNCo’s position of locking in contracts. It’s called responsible management.

            And do you REALLY think “damages” for defaulting on contracts would be 5%??? You don’t think there would be SEVERE penalties from an industry that has essentially been CREATED by NBNCo??

          • Looks like yet another Tosh re-incarnation, but with a new angle but the same old tired bullshit… LOL

          • Under common law, parties to a contract have an obligation to take actions to mitigate their losses.

            To illustrate, a contractor might be able to claim that specific resources have been pre-allocated for the purposes of satisfying the contract for the next six months and expenses already incurred cannot be recouped by other means. This the court might allow subject to evidentiary requirements about the particular items of expense and their nature.

            However, to argue that opposing party should reimburse the loss of opportunity in relation to contractual obligations extending as far as six years in the future would not stand up in court.


            Have fun googling contract law.


    • @alain

      That was in the 2012 budget. The 2013 budget will show a MUCH higher figure than that. Perhaps as high as $6 Billion.

      Nice try though, using old info.

      • I choose to use figures as provided by treasury as refelected in the latest Budget rather than make outlandish predictions of what ‘might be’.

    • “They could also renegotiate the Telstra and Optus agreements.”

      They would have to renegotiate them anyway if they want to access their copper/HFC/wireless.

      It’s be pretty interesting to see what Telstra want for the CAN its self considering the holes in the ground cost $11B…

    • “all the Coalition has to do is state that their version of the NBN saves at least twice that – problem solved.”

      How much is that exactly alain?

          • It’s only a hypothetical about how the Coalition could try to sell the termination liabilities problem. (assuming there is one)

            but nvm.

        • Yes you did say… and as such I think he is confusing you being the “messenger” of Coalition policy with being the actual author…

          • Well, at the end of the day, the Coalition plan is just a rehash of an old Labor plan that was rejected for being sub-par.

            Kinda typical of the Coalition now days, they even tried “stealing” (Reviving?) Gough Whitlam’s “Northern Development” plan….talk about a party with no ideas…

          • Well you know that’s not true at all, it can never be a rehash of the Labor plan because by September there will be a reasonable amount of FTTH rolled out.

            As we have discussed before the expectation is this will be continued post a Coalition win after a face saving review process with some FTTN chucked in for good measure.

  20. Easily fixed. Just sign all the current contracts with a 200% break of contract i.e. breaking of the contract will cost double the actual build. Hell for the fun of it put it at 2000%. Put a clause in it where the rollout has to be 93/4/3 fibre/wireless/sat with 100% pop coverage as it is planned now for the whole network or it counts as a break of contract for all parties involved.

  21. Well done that man!!

    “Petty vengeance is nice at times.”

    True, and even better when its as totally justified as that you have outlined.

  22. After reading the article and most of the comments, I find myself rather pissed off. I understand the sentiments but I think it is appalling that common sense and reason is almost completely lacking. I hope and trust that NBN continues as they have in trying to make good decisions in how to handle contract negotiations. Nobody is perfect but they stood up to contractors when they believed they were being ripped off. If they were to try to lock in long term contracts now, those companies will go for broke on the price.

    Just the same as Telstra will go for broke if a LNP government rolls up saying we’re locked into a single course of action because of political stupidity so please be gentle when you anally rape us on the price.

    It almost makes one despair that the coalition have been so bad at influencing policy while in opposition. What good policy outcomes can they claim over the last nearly 3 years. We all know the governments failings, but the LNP has been appalling in nearly every aspect – and I feel more stupid just for following it in the media. My sincere hope is for more minority government, regardless of who leads because LNP and Labor are a disgrace. There are some exceptions in there, but not enough.

    The best credit to NBN Co and Mr Quigley will be to conduct business as usual. If that isn’t enough to secure decent infrastructure policy for Australia then we truly don’t deserve it.

  23. Sorry the problem with this articles’ main premise “lock in as many contracts as you can” doesn’t work, since if your funding source is cut (oh lets say by an incoming government) all that happens is your contracts either become invalid or fail specific performance.

    Guess what happens then? Your contracted partners either sue you for specific performance and losses. Or more likely they won’t agree TO the contract because they know its likely the NBN co won’t have the resources. Further any company can’t wilfully engage in such behaviour if there is a credible risk they won’t have the ability to pay out such a contract.

    Christ I want the NBN too but get your damn contract law right instead of just party bashing.

    • So do you know more about contract law because I would like to hear about it?

      If the Libs do get in and cut funding, are they that ballsy to then compensate all those companies that entered into binding contacts. Are they then prepared to take a financial hit purely for ideological reasons?

      If so, they are truly delusional.

    • @John Peters

      In Theory the Coalition could simply cut off funding to the NBN. In practice, that is illegal as well and would end up with them having tens of thousands of stranded jobs.

      Even IF NBNCo. signed contracts for the next 7 years, that is not illegal AND as long as they have clauses, the Coalition could still get out of them.

      There is nothing illegal at all about NBNCo. signing longer contracts before a change of government.

      • The signing of longer contracts the purpose of which is to’ stuff up the Coalition’ if they gain power is a rocky road that could misfire badly.

        First of all the opposition and the press would have a field day with it and I am sure that the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the NBN would not view it too kindly either.

        There is also the problem of changing the 2012-2015 Corporate Plan to reflect the changes and asking treasury to change the Budget predictions and fund allocations for the NBN as specified in last years Budget.

        • alain, there is nothing at all dodgy with signing contracts that are part of NBNco’s mandate to deploy infrastructure.

          We already know that any contract signed between now and next election will be labelled as “political” in nature. Because that’s all the MSM and LNP have been spouting since day one.

          Frankly, if the contracts are valid, follow the TPA and are in-line with policy and law, then people will just have to suck it up and move on. Stopping work would be an incredibly irresponsible action that would place jobs, deployments and the entire project in jeopardy.

          It would also be highly likely (IAANAL) open up a can of worms with respect to any penalty clauses.

          LNP have already suggested they will begrudgingly see this thing out where existing contracts are concerned, so they’ve already given themselves, and NBNco an ‘out’.

          I should expect business as usual should be the order of the day, until such time as policy and legislation states otherwise.

          • ‘ there is nothing at all dodgy with signing contracts that are part of NBNco’s mandate to deploy infrastructure.’

            Contracts signed as the normal course of business is not is what is being referred to here, it is contracts that are purposely made longer term the outcome of which is too stuff a Coalition government up if they win.

          • And of course if the boot was on the other foot the others wouldn’t do it to…

            No, of course not *sigh*

            Gotta love people who are so incredibly naive and/or brainwashed to believe one side is evil and the other side virginally pure.

            They are politicians they all want the same power over us, they just have different ideologies.

            I now await more concocted bullshit and laughable lame excuses claiming impartiality.

          • Frankly, I don’t see this being a risk.

            Let’s be realistic here: I’m sure Labor would have loved a faster outcome & LNP would have preferred NBNco go die in a fire, and indeed the entire policy as a whole.

            Despite all of the hoopla, NBNco have been pretty level headed and just got on with the job. There have been delays, there have been the usual hurdles such a large project will attract.

            I don’t believe, based on the current track record, that NBNco would actually “punish” any incoming government by going ape-shit with contract signing (or lack there of). Unlike political parties, NBNco doesn’t exist to f*ck up the other guy.

            They have a job to do, and so far they have been doing it. I have quiet confidence they will continue on in a pretty sensible manner (regardless of calls to screw over any potential vote outcome). Quigly might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he’s done a good job, imho.

          • ^this.

            The only way NBNCo would go “hog wild” about it, is if they were directed to by Conroy, and I just don’t really see him doing that.

          • Well I don’t see a problem with the NBN Co getting on with the job they have under existing contractual and Corporate Plan rollout obligations either.

            But you have to admit there are some really crazy comments posted in here about how Labor should stuff up the Coalition post election, I am sure they are not helping the pro NBN cause at all.

            But then again they are only preaching to the converted here anyway, so anything detrimental to the Coalition is met with high fives and over the top fist pumping glee, it really doesn’t matter what it is.

          • “so anything detrimental to the Coalition is met with high fives and over the top fist pumping glee, it really doesn’t matter what it is.”

            Not necessarily, I’m sure if the LNP changed it’s position and supported the full FTTP, instead of their cut down FTTN version, they also would also bet high fives and fist pumping :o)

          • In fact, I’m quite happy to go on record as saying “I whole heartedly support a Coalition FTTP NBN” ;o)

          • Well just between you me and the gatepost I think you will find that FTTH will have a larger rollout percentage of the whole than the Coalition are alluding to at the moment.

          • I have a feeling that you may be right there mate.

            They’ll have to do some FTTN rollout of course, but I think Australia will end up with a fair bit of FTTP regardless of what the Libs are saying currently. Hopefully more widespread than the HFC got.

          • It will be higher than what the HFC got, you and me could knock out a Coalition Policy that is a electorate winner surely?

            We could call it virtual NBN.


          • Not too sure on that, about the only change I’d make the the current NBNCo plan would be using FTTN in places where:

            a. Areas lock out the use of wireless towers (though they’d be built on a “when possible” basis, and with hardware that can be upgraded to FTTP in the future as time/money allows).

            b. MDU’s that are “problematic”.

            Apart from that, it’d basically be the current plan.

            I guess yours would be more in line with the Libs version, with the option to upgrade later?

          • Actually Brendan, you nailed one of Australia’s main problems, the Politicians are elected and we pay them to act in our (The Nations) best interest.
            The Political Parties (well at least one) are there for Power and to stuff up the other team even if it means stuff the Nation

          • …. and if the Democracy feels they are not acting in the Nations best interests they get rolled at the next election.

          • Indeed they do… pity though, that people’s opinions are swayed by misinformation, rather than facts…either way.

  24. Just as a note from my rant, I wasn’t referring to Delimiter above. I personally think Renai’s commitment to evidence based journalism is exemplary and wish there were more journalists with the ability and balls to report objectively. It would be nice if some other areas of public discourse had similarly committed journalists.

  25. Want NBN? Think it’s a good idea for the future? Vote Labor. And tell your friends and family why you’re voting Labor. The mainstream media have a different agenda. Only word of mouth can stop them.

  26. This website is an unashamed supporter of the NBN. I’ve seen them come through our rural community – the Riverland of SA. I complained about the destruction of the roadside vegetation and. I was told by the NBN that “it was not their doing”. In fact it was their contractor – Duh!. They said that there would be plantings to replace the destroyed vegetation. It’s one year on and no such undertaking has been fulfilled. A local resident living just off the cable installation was recently fined $30,000 by the Council for removing native vegetation from his property.
    I have even seen the farcical situation in Renmark of Telstra laying fibre optical cables on the right side of the road, while at the same time the NBN was laying cables on the left side of the road. In fact the NBN left cables lying around on one side road for 6 weeks.
    So to sum up, the cables go right through our region. Good to see Willunga connected and improving student’s intelligence and academic results.
    But will we ever get it? And at what cost?

  27. This is a great article!

    It points in the right direction, Quigley should definitely go all out with the NBN while he has the chance.

    I hope that the NBN and Quigley stay as they are now and keep on their path come September but take every chance you have and get those contracts in.

    “If you’re going to go out, NBN Co, go out in style.”
    Great last line Renai!

  28. The fundamental principle of democracy is that the losers of elections gracefully accept that they have lost. The suggestion that any government should sabotage and undermine the handover to power to the winners by locking the winners in to policies that have lost the losers the election shows complete contempt for democracy. It is being the worst sort of bad loser, and that is unaustralian. I have contempt for anyone who would suggest that sort of thing.

    • @Gordon

      That’s interesting. Considering the Coalition have asked the GOVERNMENT to be “caretakers” when they are, legally and “virtually” (thankyou Ms Bishop), the Government for the next 7 months.

      So, turn and turn about- if the Coalition expect the Government to relinquish control because they “KNOW” they’re going to win (sore (possible) winners) why shouldn’t the GOVERNMENT play hard ball and lock in contracts? (sore losers)

      By the way, the NBN is FAR from the only instance that any government has done this sort of contract beyond the election. Hell, any infrastructure project smaller than the NBN (that’s most of them) are locked in across elections. You’re suggesting the NBN is different? If so, how? And no, “more expensive” doesn’t cut it. If other infrastructure was as expensive overall but WASN’T borrowed money, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. It is only because it is borrowed money we’re even having this whole debate.

    • “The fundamental principle of democracy is that the losers of elections gracefully accept that they have lost”
      Sorry, but without more information I can’t tell whether you are talking about what Renai suggested NBNCo do or Tony Abbott’s bad behaviour since losing the last election.
      I’ll assume you mean Tony since NBN Co isn’t a political party.
      Yes, such behaviour from losing party is disgraceful. He hasn’t created anything like previous opposition leaders but has done his best to undermine the government. Tyring to ruin Australia just because you lost is very poor form.

      • Not only T.A’s but also the rest of their team, a minority government was the Golden Opportunity for them to show their mettle and their worthiness to be our next government, they failed miserably.
        However Media interests have ensured that this demonstrated pack of failures will be our next government

    • “The fundamental principle of democracy” is that the legitimately elected government should be able to go about it’s business.

      The Liberals are actually being very undemocratic in this regard, in fact it’s more a characteristic of a dictatorial system which expects unquestioning obedience. Just because the Liberals say “We’re in (virtual) caretaker mode”, doesn’t make it true (as has been pointed out in many, many places now, not just here).

  29. If Malcolm is allowed to be ridiculous by suggesting that we should be in “virtual caretaker mode”, Renai is allowed to be ridiculous too.

    The thing is – Renai isn’t being all that ridiculous. The government would have every right and ability to do as he suggests.

    The difference is, Malcolm doesn’t have any valid position – (legal, constitutional or otherwise) – to call for caretaker provisions to apply.

    LeMay 1, Turnbull 0

    • @Micheal Wyres

      ‘The thing is – Renai isn’t being all that ridiculous. The government would have every right and ability to do as he suggests.’

      The thing is though is it a wise thing to do in election year where you are taking a punt on the fact that the electorate as a whole and the press would look favourably upon these methods the sole political purpose of which is to stuff up the Coalition post September.

      • @alain

        Politics may only be of secondary concern. There are a dozen reasons signing longer contracts or options for extending contracts, may be prudent for business. It includes higher current cash value payments upfront which saves significant monies down the track on the sort of money NBNCo. are spending. And longer contracts generally attract a lower overall cost per unit the longer they are.

        Those are just 2 I can think of off the top of my head. Now that NBNCo. are in full rollout, this would be the perfect time to negotiate longer contracts now that contractors know what to expect for costs. Both parties could benefit greatly.

        Politics is only one aspect of an idea like this.

        • @seven_tech & Brendan,

          The NBN Co can do anything it likes (within the constraints I have outlined), the point you are missing or avoiding is the perception that the signing of NBN longer term contracts in a election year that are not the norm relative to previously signed NBN contracts gives.

          If you want to take a punt that any flack this generates by the Opposition and the press is of no consequence and all Gillard has to do is ‘ride it out’ hanging onto her Governments knife edge majority and poor polling results through to September 14th go for it.

      • alain, NBNco has a mandate to continue meeting policy and business requirements until it’s instructed otherwise.

        It may be a SOE, but it still has contractual and policy obligations to meet. It has a work force and targets. It has every right to continue doing what it is doing. Doing anything other than that would be against the purposes for which it was formed.

        You keep stating there’s some requirement for them to not sign contracts in case it impacts the LNP. Any contract signed may extend the NBNco’s construction effort. Which is the point. They’re supposed to be in the process of building a broadband network.

        Until they (LNP) are elected again, they don’t really get to dictate the terms of NBNco’s actions.

  30. As someone who has spent a lot of his employed life working for the Commonwealth, I may personally like this idea but I wouldn’t do it were I there. I’d feel dirty. Unclean.

    A public servant (and yes, I believe that name says something) has a responsibility to whomever is in government as the representative of the public, and sabotaging the next government is something that happens in the US (Reagan running up huge deficits so the Democrats wouldn’t have anything to spend when they got into power).

    That said, there are some things “public servants” do now that are not aligned with my (atheistic – yes we have morals too) views on ethics and morality.

    • I agree with your sentiment however NBN Co staff aren’t public servants as they work for a Gov owned Business Enterprise (GBE) and different rules apply to pretty much everything.

      • It is not as simple as that, the NBN Co is overseen by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the NBN, DBCDE, Treasury, the Department of Finance and the ACCC.

        • All well and good Alain, but who oversees them has no bearing on it at all…

          “The defining characteristics (of a GBE) are that they have a distinct legal form and they are established to operate in commercial affairs. While they may also have public policy objectives, GBE’s should be differentiated from other forms of government agencies or state entities established to pursue purely non-financial objectives.”

          • I think you would find the Liebrals would utilize, at any cost to the Taxpayer, by any mechanism, to halt the NBN should they come to power, no matter how much NBN locks in all the future contracts. They would be under the command of Murdoch to halt it making any inroads as to a threat against his highly profitable Foxtel Investment media monopoly.
            As the NBN would allow other competitors into his Media stronghold of Australia, his influence to control the flow of information to the Sheeple of Australia, thus directing the finances and political directions of all Australians, would be severely curtailed or reduced. For a man that believes in infinite growth in everything of his, on a finite resource planet, he would waste any resource that is not his, to halt anything threatening his desires. And the Coalition’s price is cheap as chips now, in comparison to competition that will last into the future, on political and financial cost to control the hearts and the minds of Australia if other Corporations are doing it too, in competition to him.

          • People always seem to forget Foxtel isn’t a wholly owned Murdoch company, it’s other owner probably also dislikes the current NBN, and is in a much better position to hold things up until a more favourable government is elected…

          • Well you can say it – Telstra, I was just reading the latest Telstra Financial report released this week as you do, and it seems it doesn’t have any problems nor any reason to’ hold things up’ in the hope for a better NBN deal, it has received $176 million for the NBN deal already with more to come to pump into NextG rollouts.

            Interesting that you mention FOXTEL, because cable revenue increased by 5.2% to $61 million, primarily due to higher FOXTEL revenue, I bet Telstra are happy their HFC is staying up for FOXTEL eh?

          • And TLS shares have skyrocketed now, some 85% since the NBN agreement (as we all said they would)…

            Yet even you Telstra fanbois, still refuse to recognise it, because you believe the alternate FttN will help your precious Telstra even more so *sigh*

          • The FTTP plan makes a whole lot more sense for TLS than FTTN.

            With FTTN they just get carrier fees but they’d still need to deal with dodgy connections where the lines are falling apart (heck, I still get slow downloads and odd pauses and I’m on their top cable plan).

            With FTTP they get carrier fees , plus all the other “value add” stuff they’ve worked on over the years will be working amazingly well.

            Imagine all their Bigpond Movies/TV/Music services running over 100Mbs fibre. Plus they could bundle in Foxtel to pretty well anyone and know they don’t have to tool around with dodgy connections, or even if they can connect them…

          • I’d argue it would be “limited” control, if they were the actual network provider, they’d be under a lot more ACCC control than as a plain RSP.

          • Well, the whole Foxtel thing is interesting really. News Corp is about to hive off it’s publishing division (newspapers, books, etc), but in Australia, it’s also adding Foxtel in to the mix (unlike in the US, where cable will be the main body of the new News International).

            I’m thinking Rupert is doing that so his beloved papers have a chance at least (they’ll use the profit from Foxtel to keep them afloat a bit longer), but the board may be adding it because the see a shaky future for it /shrug. Hard to know which, the way the company is run…

          • Foxtel is the profit, Sky where Sky Sport is the bait which keeps the viewer watching the News, current affairs and commentary, is Ruperts baby and is the manipulation and control by the stealth machine.

            Incidentally as an aside

            “Dennis Potter, a playwright of far greater import than a mere paperboy, called his cancer ‘Rupert’

            “The Murdoch story – his corruption of essential democratic institutions on both sides of the Atlantic – is one of the most important and far-reaching political/cultural stories of the past 30 years, an ongoing tale without equal. ”

          • I have a simple solution for you, if you don’t like FOXTEL and who it is owned by don’t buy it.

          • And… I have a simple solution for you, if you don’t like the NBN and who it is owned by don’t buy it.


          • I don’t think Alain doesn’t like FTTP per se, I think he just has a few issues with how it’s being done.

          • Choosing not to buy Foxtel on a cable plan is the same as choosing not to buy a monopoly NBN infrastructure plan? – err ok.

          • But what about all of those “wireless only” homes you have told us about…

            They only exist when YOUR debate requires them to exist… oh I see…!


          • I agree tinman, he disagree with how it’s being done (i.e. it’s done by Labor and not with Telstra having another stranglehold over our comms)… if it was otherwise, he’d be 100% behind it :/

          • I don’t, nor do I subscribe to any of his media products.Haven’t the time to watch much TV
            However I will subscribe to and support the Australian Guardian or Australian Huffington Post as a foil to the News Ltd effective monopoly when they start up

          • While NBN Co is a business it is still owned by the Australian people and NBN Co still has to follow guidelines set down by the government of the day. It has expectations laid upon it that other private enterprises don’t have to worry about. NBN Co should be mindful of its unique public role and should be wary of the political implications of its actions.

          • Agreed…

            But only a few weeks ago those who oppose the NBN were whinging that there’s not enough action, roll out/take-up numbers being hidden, etc. But now they are claiming there’s too much action, because there’s an election coming up (gee an election , really…what a revelation)…

            Gee, they really are never happy and have a conspiracy for every outcome don’t they?

  31. Load it up and lock it in NBN.
    Only the Sheeple don’t want the NBN and they don’t know why, as they haven’t been told a valid reason yet. But then, they will bleat on anyway, as they are instructed to do regardless. They always do. *yawn*

  32. I was disappointed to see Mt Stuart, Tas, revised out of the “Under Construction” phase into the “construction within 12 months”… no doubt due, in part, to Renae’s (and others) “Truth in Rollout Figures” campaign. But at least I have a realistic expectation and wholly support Renae’s call for a ramp up. NBN under Turnbull will relegate us to the dark ages. It’s a shame, I had a lot of respect for Turnbull until his inevitable support for a dumbed down NBN. He will cost us money in the long run. (I honestly don’t think he supports FTTN in his own heart.)

  33. Not only should NBN Co ignore Malcolm Turnbull’s spurious claim that it’s in some form of ‘virtual caretaker mode’ ahead of the upcoming Federal Election, it should intentionally sign as many long-term construction and equipment contracts as possible before September, in case the Coalition wins government and tries to shut it down.

    There’s this thing called a Limited Liability Corporation.

    What this means is that future governments (i.e. taxpayers) are not in any way liable for contracts signed by NBNCo today.

    • My understanding is the Federal Government is acting as a financial guarantor of NBNco on the contracts it enters into. (Hence the contingent liabilities listed in the Federal Budget.)

      Think about it:

      If you were an engineering contractor, would you enter into a commercial relationship to supply hundreds of million dollars worth of services to an entity that has no meaningful revenue stream, except for a few shingles here and there collected from the meagre number of subscribers on their massively under-utilised FTTP networks?

      No company in their right mind would do business with NBNco without a sealed guarantee from a financial sponsor with deep pockets (i.e the Federal Government).

        • @Tel

          Well that’s just not true at all. If a parliament lead by Labor backs a law and gets it through Senate too and then a Coalition government is formed but cannot pass the reversal through the Senate, then they are bound by the previous parliament’s actions.

          Did you think about circumstances of parliament before you wrote that?

          • @Tel

            No new government can repeal an old government’s legislation without approval of the Senate. That is one of the MAIN REASONS for the Senate. And why the Senate is appointed 9 months after the election, to provide continuity in legislation.

            Can you show me any instance a new government has repealed law WITHOUT the Senate? Parliamentary Sovereignty is an ideal of the system and why we have a Senate. In practice it does NOT give a government ultimate power to undo everything of a previous government.

          • Parliament has sovereignty and parliament consists of two houses. Neither single house can claim legislative superiority over the other, and deadlock between the houses is not a bug, nor is it a counter-example to parliamentary sovereignty, nor is it a problem. Some degree of resistance to change is built into the system, and that’s a good thing.

            However, in the very special case of the purse (i.e. supply bills) the lower house does claim superiority, because of the Whitlam dismissal and the tradition that arose from that. Thus, monetary allocation can easily be taken away from any project, with only lower house approval (upper house has given a pinkie promise never to block a supply bill).

          • @Tel

            Actually Tel, the Senate may NOT amend bills relating to the APPROPRIATION of revenue or monies. ie Tax. Taxes would not have to be changed to ensure the NBN continues or not. That’s what Fraser did- refuse to pass bills on revenue he knew he couldn’t change. Exactly as Labor did when Howard tried to pass the GST. They sent it back to ensure optional amendments were allowed at a later date.

            The Senate does not have to block the budget permanently to ensure the NBN survives- they simply ask for amendments to be made by sending it back. It has been done a dozen times before.

        • Parliaments are “bound” all the time, it comes down to practicality. The ask themselves “Would it be practical for them to unwind certain things”, like the GST or Afghanistan/Iraq, or even “simple” things like Myki. The answer is that some things are just better off being continued rather than going through the “pain” an unwinding would cause…

        • You’re wrong.


          The Commonwealth’s legal obligations are not discharged every time there is a change in Government. From a legal perspective, the Crown remains the Crown irrespective of a change in officeholders.

          But I agree that Labor’s NBN policy is a massive taxpayer con. Because we will always have stupid politicians implementing stupid policies (and stupid people cheerleading in support of these policies), I urge everyone (including large corporations) to minimise their taxes to the fullest extent possible to minimise their personal exposure to the financial consequences of incompetent politicians.


          Have a nice weekend.


          • @The Trtuth

            It’d be great if we could keep the political rhetoric down.

            You can have the opinion that the NBN is crap policy. It flies in the face of 90% of the rest of the industry however. But even so, ‘paying less tax’ is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of in trying to protest against policies. As soon as government changes, you what, go out and get another job and taxes go up then dump it when you don’t like the government?

            You’ve some strange ideas on Democracy.

          • His views have nothing to do with democracy, they are full blown capitalism.

            Maybe in the US the line is blurred between them, but they are still different things here in Australia…

          • The Commonwealth can change its own legal obligations any time it wants to by simply changing the law.

            The only limits to parliamentary sovereignty in Australia are [1] a referendum and [2] a successful constitutional challenge via the High Court. Obviously [1] isn’t about to happen, even if it did happen, Australians would vote NO, and I admit that [2] is a remote possibility but only in the rarest situations does the High Court go against the government of the day. What would be the basis of such a challenge anyhow? The Australian Constitution doesn’t have an awful lot to protect individual property rights anyhow. The best you could hope for would be:

            (xxxi) The acquisition of property on just terms from any State or person for any purpose in respect of which the Parliament has power to make laws

            It would be necessary to show that individual property has been acquired. Good luck on that. Feel free to have a read of our Constitution yourself and pick a more plausible avenue.

            If you are thinking along the lines of a creditor suing the shareholder of a limited liability corporation, then that’s the exact thing “limited liability” is designed to block. Many a creditor has hit this blockade and gone nowhere. If you want to campaign to abolish limited liability then I’d be right behind you (maybe even ahead of you) but right now this is a cornerstone of our economy and hardly something that the Lib/Nat coalition would consider touching.

  34. Renai,

    You’ve also made a strong case that medium or short term contracts gives greater flexibility (and thus may lower cost) for NBN Co.

    So why encourage Quigley to jump to extreme measures and lock in long term contracts just to spite the opposition.

    It may be legal but is it morally justified?

  35. KingForce
    I have read your quite lucid comments with interest.
    IMO you are missing the whole point.
    The NBN as is, is providing the best ubiquitous NATIONAL practical communications platform for the entire Nation enabling industry and the business sector great and small.
    NBNCo is the GBE tasked with making that happen
    The Model of the GBE is such that it will over time make a return to the Taxpayer at minimal impact on the budget bottom line in the process, taking nothing from any other government program

    To degrade that for ideological or political reasons is intentionally harming our Nations future, we are not in the pub arguing sporting codes or our teams. It is our Nations very future.

    If your interest is playing politics, look to the Health of our Democracy and how the golden opportunity of a minority government was p****d up against the wall for petty tantrums

    • Abel,

      I was looking forward to you dissecting the lucid points made, but I guess when that gets all too hard the best fall back is nationalistic rhetoric, where the only thing missing to give it more emphasis was Advance Australia Fair playing in the background.

      Suffice to say your points about the current Labor NBN as being the anointed chosen one is not a given nor is it a given it is the sole savior of ‘the long term foundations of our Nations future’, especially as it requires existing infrastructure to be shut down to survive and where I despair if one of the keys to Australia’s future depends on being able to sit inside your residence watching HDTV streaming to any room you want.

      • Alain, what on earth does your reply have to do with anything he said? It was so full of strawmen you must have stripped and entire field clear to make them.

        • It has everything to do with what he said, I don’t think you and others know what strawman argument means at all, it’s like ‘oh another Alain post’ knee jerk response insert ‘strawman’ – easy, job done.

      • @ alain,

        “…requires existing infrastructure to be shut down”…

        Therein lies the complete stupidity of the anti-NBN argument, in just a few words….

        Apparently no one should ever improve anything for Australians (that’s waste and bad management) because nothing is allowed to be shut down, no matter how old, obsolete and worn it is…


          • I don’t know you tell me..?

            After all, you’re the one who previously said you have HFC available and don’t even use it. YOU also previously said HFC was a failure and that YOU have it hanging across the road from your place and it’s only good for the pigeons to roost on…DIDN’T YOU?

            Go on, be a man even once and admit exactly what YOU said…we both know it’s true…don’t we :0

          • Yes got all that diversionary waffle, the question is which you avoided, if existing infrastructure is obsolete why is Telstra keeping HFC for Foxtel?

          • Unlike you, please allow me to answer (there’s a new one you could trry, even once)… Because it’s there and they can sell TV over it and make money… DER!!!!!

            Your precious Telstra would still sell quills, steam engines and fucking gramophones IF they could make a buck from them… LOL

          • @Alain

            Ah, that’s actually really obvious. HFC was originally designed for TV (CATV). It requires MUCH less maintenance and there are no contention problems for TV because it is broadcast unlike internet over HFC. Telstra could spend almost nothing else on HFC and continue providing FOXTEL to almost 3 million households for the foreseeable future. WITHOUT having to pay NBNCo. multicast payments to do so to those people over the NBN.

          • Indeed 7T, but sadly FACTS don’t work with our doubting Thomas friend…that’s why I like throwing his forever ridiculously contradictory comments back at him instead… just for shits and giggles :)

          • Is that why he is still driving a wheezy smoky old clunker, can’t trade it in for something newer, better, more reliable, more economical that actually has a working airconditioner until it breaks down irrepairably with no spare parts available, then more than likely mount it on a pedestal and polish it every day

          • @seven_tech

            Oh I see it is not obsolete for Pay TV it’s only obsolete for broadband, but of course the only reason it is obsolete for broadband is that the NBN Co needs those customers as they are in the most lucrative areas of our largest metropolitan cities.

            The NBN requires ALL fixed line infrastructure to be shut down, and the customers forced to migrate across.

            Of course even you can see how ludicrous is to keep Telstra HFC maintained for TV but we close down its fully functional BB facility.

          • It must be Sunday, alain’s HFC is not a failure day… FFS

            After you previously telling us “HFC was a failure and the (ill) logic is, because the NBN is closest in specs to HFC it too will be a failure… as well as claiming that the HFC hanging across the road from your place is only good for the pigeons to roost on…

            Plus you also told us you don’t have a problem with the NBN/Telstra/Optus migration deals, as they were certified by the ACCC…

            Yet you keep harping on like a child about forced closure/migration and are totally unwilling to accept technological improvement.


          • @alain

            Actually no. I don’t see that as ridiculous at all. Maintaining HFC for broadband is massively more expensive than maintaining it for Pay TV. Pay TV requires they do nothing but keep it working. BB requires that they manage contention, manage switching, ensure backhaul, keep modem management systems in place. Not to mention the continued problem with who can get it and who can’t. In many areas Telstra won’t sign up anymore people to maintain a low enough contention. If they wanted to continue making money off it they would HAVE to spend money on it.

            With Pay TV, they just keep the power on and upgrade the headend. That’s it.

          • It wouldn’t be a replacement network if you kept the old crappy expensive to maintain one running, now would it?

      • “especially as it requires existing infrastructure to be shut down to survive”

        One could make a pretty solid case that that existing infrastructure should be shut down or replaced anyway, considering that under the current state of affairs it costs $700M a year to keep it hobbling on…

        • Well keep it up then, see how many residences come across voluntarily, oh we already know that from mediocre sign-ups in areas that already have plenty of alternative high speed choice.

          Perhaps the bounty will move it along and if that doesn’t work we can increase the bounty, and if that doesn’t work give it away and call it a trial.

          • @alain

            I really don’t understand your issue. You say we don’t need new infrastructure. Ok, even if that WERE the case, we WILL need it in less than 10 years in many, MANY places. So we could just leave it and run it into the ground then people are forced to upgrade to more expensive options they don’t want.

            Or we could leave infrastructure in place now AND build the NBN. What does that do? Does it give people more choice? Not really- they can get exactly the same plans with better speeds for less money. But lets say we did it anyway. What is the result? NBNCo. doesn’t make as much revenue and neither does every Telco out there trying to compete with the uncompetable. They KNOW they can’t and and won’t compete with FTTH. Telstra might try and build their own but by their own admission they don’t think customers will pay the premium for the speeds, they’ll just wait fir prices to come down.

            So, we get NBNCo. taking longer to pay back their loans and the industry KNOWING they can’t compete with a government backed entity and not trying. Brilliant. Sounds like a really good system. Perhaps then we should not build the NBN at all? Screw the 40-50% of Australians who are sick of their mediocre, poor or non-existent connections, they can pay to have them upgraded.

            Seriously Alain, I STILL don’t know what it is you want???

          • It appears whatever Telstra and the Coalition want and what is best for Telstra and the Coalition…and at this stage it seems FttN fulfils both of his pets :/

          • Why keep it when it costs so much to keep going?

            Nostalgia reasons? A living museum perhaps?

            I can’t think of one decent reason to keep an expensive old thing going when there’s a replacement new version that costs a lot less to maintain, though if you can think of any I’d like to hear them.

          • NBNAlex
            Not forgetting

            No need to waste time and resources attacking something that is not perceived to be a threat.

            Interesting they are just regurgitating the same smelly old Mantra’s, considering the Fan ramp up, Telstra’s acceleration of Pit and duct remediation, Telstra’s indicated release of their wireless plans mid year meaning Telstra’s rural bundled customers can sign up for the 25/5.
            The Coalition risk egg on face with the H1 report just before the election

          • “Nostalgia reasons? A living museum perhaps?”

            That is what I’ve always assumed but I believe the term you are looking for is “heritage listed”.

      • alain
        I believe I pointed out they were irrelevant so why waste time taking it any further, let the medieval monks argue over the number of angels that would fit on a needle point, I don’t care

  36. alain
    “the sole political purpose of which is to stuff up the Coalition post September.”

    The NBN is not about politics, it is about the long term foundations for our Nations future

    • Yes, it is very long. Sadly there are some ‘filler’ posts like mine:

      Have you considered truncating your name to ‘Glendigo’?

      See? Pure filler.

  37. +1 Renai
    in fact, on the 07.06.2012 on Whirlpool I posted this:

    “The NBN should do all of us a favour and sign the contracts for the next 10 years, leaving no choice to Libs. :)”

    But no one offered me a beer for that! Seriously, yes I think this is the only “safe” passage for the NBN to keep it’s present form.

  38. Caretaker mode he sugest…
    IF the libs win this election I would sugest 4 years caretaker
    mode for them in NBN and other areas.

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